Meet Ignasius Jonan, Marketeer of the Year 2014!
    Category: Column By : Hermawan Kartajaya Read : 1381 Date : Wednesday, December 03, 2014 - 22:32:01

    I taught Mathematics and Physics in St. Louis High School in Surabaya for 15 years. That was how I met Ignatius Jonan. He was my student in his final high school year. In class, he never seemed to listen to what I teach. But he always got a perfect score in every single mathematics exam. What was interesting, he was not even a science major. Jonan took the social studies major, where most students hated mathematics.

    After high school, he went to study economics in Universitas Airlangga Surabaya. He then went to the U.S. to take his masters in Tufts University. Next he became managing director and head of Indonesia investment banking of Citibank. He then took a turn by working for state-owned enterprises—first with Bahana securities and later railways Kereta Api. It was when he spearheaded the railroad operator that he became well known.

    Despite not knowing anything about operating a railroad, he brought significant improvement to the company. He fundamentally managed three key stakeholders of the public service company. First, he took efforts to understand and satisfy employees. Salaries went up but many non-productive allowances and incentives were cut. Employees were happy but the company expenses actually went down. Moreover, he applied personal touch. He could remember the profiles of the top 250 staff off the top of his head.

    Second, he satisfied the passenger and cargo customers by making major service overhauls. Collaborating with Telkom for IT solutions, the company improved productivity by 1.5 times. He also transformed stations into cleaner environment and created better retail establishments there.

    Finally, government was also made happy. Under Jonan, the company actually made money and its revenue has significantly improved. Not only that, the government was also happy because public services in land transport became much better. We rarely see today people riding on top of a train, which was a common sight before. The company also became better managed. It acquired misused land properties. It even created the country’s first airport train in Medan.

    Now he has become the transportation minister, as widely predicted. An important figure in the cabinet, he was among the first to be introduced by President Jokowi. Jonan is perhaps the key to establish the sea tolls that the government targets.

    On December 11, during the ninth annual MarkPlus Conference, Jonan will be awarded the Marketeer of the Year Indonesia 2014. The juries led by last year’s awardee Arief Yahya, the then chief executive of Telkom and now tourism minister, decided that Jonan has been a standout in the marketing space in 2014.

    Interestingly, these ministers Jonan and Arief were selected by Jokowi, who himself was the Marketeer of the Year 2010 for government sector. In fact, the MarkPlus Conference has produced many government official alumni: President Jokowi, former Coordinating Minister Chairul Tanjung, former Minister Dahlan Iskan, Ministers Arief and Jonan, as well as former Vice Ministers Sapta Nirwandar and Ambassador Dino Patti Djalal. Jonan is a brilliant person that I have known for a long time. I believe that he will be able to make sea tolls a reality to reestablish Indonesia as a strong maritime nation.